RDS 190820 DRIVING-1566397138338
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What you need to know:

  • Our Gulf News readers write about the importance of travelling and the need to drive carefully on the roads. 

We often hear people tell us, once we get our driving licenses, to be careful, drive slow and pay attention to the roads. I stop to wonder how all this will change a person who is careless by nature. It’s like telling a gas cylinder, you can leak but don’t catch fire if you meet an open flame. It is impossible.

But to get this so-called ‘careful and attentive driving experience’, one thing should be there first: your mind. It should be present and awake, not dozing off or occupied with other thoughts. I have seen it happen on highways, people distracted while driving. If our mind is present when we drive, only then can we accomplish what we can call a ‘mindful driving experience’. Your mind has to be available all the times when you are operating a car. Even if your eyes are wide open and no matter how awake you are, if your mind is elsewhere, it becomes a recipe for disaster. If your thoughts are distracted or distorted, even for a split second, you are putting yourself and other people on the road in danger.

That is why we see a lot of accidents happening and the drivers involved are not drunk or asleep, merely distracted for a fraction of a second. When asked they tell you that they didn’t know what happened. This is a clear indication that a person’s mind was elsewhere.

I think each of us bears an equal responsibility. As a pedestrian, we must walk mindfully and avoid getting distracted with our phones, friends around us or food. Once we think of holding the wheel of this moving metal box and plan to drive, we should always understand the responsibility that we carry towards ourselves, our passengers and the other souls around us. We also should first prepare and clear our minds as much as we can; only then we should start and drive off.

When we think of driving with a clear head, only then we can say that we are driving mindfully. No one is ever completely in the ‘right mind’ but being alert and pushing problems aside to concentrate on the task is a must.

In the end, it is important and needed to be fully present while driving to avoid hurting yourself and others.

- The reader is a resident of the UAE.